The lovely team at The BNC Event Show were kind enough to involve me in their February 2020 show. Part of this was to have a good chat with Melissa before hand to give more of an insight into the Event Professionals Journal. You can read the article below!
How long did you keep a professional journal before you decided to produce the book?
About 3 years, it has always been an equal focus on work and personal as this is mainly what our industry struggles with - only 4% of us have work life balance!
What are the basic principles of journaling and how does it help?
The beauty of journalling is that the only basic princeable is that whatever you write is just for you, unless you decide you want to share. It is judgement free, you don’t have to feel guilty, and you can be honest with how you feel and the struggles you are facing, so that you can then make a plan to move forward. Handwriting is shown to activate large regions in the brain responsible for thinking and healing, along with making us think in a more positive light. This is why the journal is paper copy and not on an app.
How much research did you do into professional journals – and what did you discover - before you started designing your book?
I did indeed, and my main discovery was that there was absolutely none on the market specific to event professionals even though we work in one of the top 5 most stressful industry (as reported by Forbes). There needs to be one specific to our industries as we suffer with varying factors that others do not, and the exercises within the journal directly tackles those. Other journals out there are mainly focused on either personal or work, with a few combining the two but are very general.
How does journaling particularly help event professionals, who are statistically meant to have more workplace stress than other executives?
A lot of research was done in to the wellbeing of our industry in order to develop the exercises within the journal. The questions chosen are ones that directly tackle the problems we face, i.e only 4% of us feel we have work/life balance, In an average 8 hour working day, event professionals are productive for less than 3 hours, 88% of respondents find talking about stress really helps
Did you find the manufacturing process easy to navigate or were there pitfalls/learning curves?
I am an event manager so creating a physical product to sell in order to help others was a real learning curve - a much bigger one then expected! I used the same designers as I use for Salone Events so they made it easier for me. The journal needs to be really high quality as it is used every day, so this was challenging when pricing it up, but it provides so much value back (works out to cost under £1 a week, and provides on average 22.5% increase in productivity each day - giving back over 1.5 days each week!), so I had to listen to others on the advice on that one.
How did it feel when you held the first copy in your hands?
It was an insanely amazing feeling. One I will never forget. To know I can now provide to others the solution that helped me so much, and is already helping others, just makes me so happy.
How long did it take from idea / concept to production? And how many did you print?
I had the idea to turn my method of journalling into a product around 2 years ago, and it wasn’t until IBTM World launched their business accelerator programme that I thought I would give it a go! From entering that competition, I became a finalist and pitched the idea (dragons den style) along with 9 others finalists. It was another very steep learning curve, we had mentoring to get us prepared for pitching. From that, Jason Allan Scott asked to mentor me and together we are working on changing the wellbeing in the industry from using the Event Professionals Journal. Within 7 weeks I turned the idea into a product/business, IBTM gave me the push I needed. I printed 200 on the first run.
How do you convince someone (who wouldn’t ordinarily do this sort of thing) to start journaling?
I don’t think you should convince anyone to journal to be totally honest, I think they have to want to do it and not be forced. I personally don’t see why you wouldn’t, or at least give it a go. The Event Professionals Journal takes the same amount of time to complete as it does to boil your kettle in the morning for your morning tea/coffee, and provides so much back in return, so why wouldn’t you?
What do your friends and family say about what you have achieved?
They think it's amazing, they are all very proud. They noticed a huge change in me when I started journalling and have seen how the event industry can effect the event professionals, but also the family & friends too. Friends and family are inspired that I have gone from rock bottom through work stress, personal trauma and a couple of chronic illnesses, through to owning 2 successful businesses at the age of 27. We had a big celebratory dinner after IBTM World!
What’s next for you?
My main aim is to just continue focusing on improving the wellbeing within the industry - but this is not something I can do on my own! The industry needs to change and we all need to take action in order for this to happen.